According to Merriam-Webster upside down means “in such a way that the upper and lower parts are reversed in position”. This can be a really bad thing when you are talking about the ice cream sundae that you have been waiting for all day. Upside down on the floor is not a good thing at all. Now, it isn’t quite so bad when it comes to cake being on the bot- tom and the fruit is on top when we flip it out of the pan. When the fruit is pineapple it can be a very good thing, which we call pineapple upside down cake. So, the term can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation.
But Merriam-Webster gives a second definition, “in or into great disorder”. Then it gives an example, “turned their world upside down”. The idea that the normal order of things is not what it normally was. In the first century Jesus came and turned the world upside down. What was normal, religion as usual, the structure of things, was not going to be what it was. His followers went on and turned the known world upside down as they spread not only His message but lived as He called them to. Then it got even more turned upside down a couple of centuries later when the Roman government, which at one time was persecuting those who followed, was now embracing it and the ruler was seeking the blessing of the church. Yea, you could say it was in great disorder from what had been normal.
What about today, could the world be turned upside down by the followers of Jesus? Could they make such an impact that the people would notice the influence of Jesus? Could there be such an impact that those in government would be influenced by Jesus?
Maybe if we set up a tent in our yard so all those who daily pass by on Pontiac Trail would notice. We could have a sign in our front yard saying “Tent Meeting”, get a well known speaker in. They would just flock to our building. Naw, that is too old school.
Maybe design the best web page, have ads pop up on news feeds younger people get. We turn our service into a high energy emotionally charged event where people are just bounc- ing off the walls with a rock band to bring in the younger crowd. They would just flock to our building. That may work, until people found something more entertaining and they would bounce over there.
Maybe we do it God’s way. It was about personal responsibility. Jesus told His followers to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Maybe a clearer picture would be, “go and talk to your friends”. We are told that when the church was scattered (Acts 8:4) they announced to those around them the good news of Jesus. We see the example of it spreading be- cause someone was willing to invite friends and relatives to come and hear that good news (Acts 10:24). Spreading God’s love and showing people Jesus is about relationships, yet we want to reduce it to hype, a program, or an event. We keep trying to improve on God’s way of doing things, do we really think we have a better way?
We all want the church to grow. And we want someone else to do it. But unless we take the responsibility upon ourselves to “Go”, we will limp along until five, maybe ten years from now we sell the building and move into something smaller. Then five to ten years after that close the doors of that place. It’s about dying to self, it is about stepping up and doing what may not be comfortable, it is about following through on that commitment to Christ.
Jesus and His church are all about relationships. The world has turned that upside down and made Christianity about the outward flash. It is time we stopped following the world and
start following God’s ways. It is time to turn the world upside down one person at a time!
Flipping things over, Randy